Peru’s leftist party shows deft agility in policy reversals

By September 8, 2016

Peru’s leftist party, Broad Front, demonstrates its ability to adapt and be unpredictable at a time when Peruvian sport needs a role model to look up to.

Two policy reversals in the last week show how easily Broad Front can turn on a dime and keep opponents guessing at its next moves. The agility and speed of its policy adjustments come after Peru’s Olympic team win no medals and the national soccer selection will not qualify for the 2018 World Cup for the ninth consecutive tournament.

Last week Broad Front leaders called on President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’s government not to recognize the government of Brazil after the Brazilian Senate impeached former President Dilma Rousseff for breaking budgetary laws.

“This morning the Brazilian Senate … executed an institutional-parliamentary coup, deposing the legitimate President Dilma Rousseff without any justifiable crime,” reads the Broad Front statement. “The dismissal not only ignores the will of 54 million Brazilians, but most of its backers have open investigations for corruption, so it is a clear attack on democracy in the region.”

The Broad Front statement comes in stark contrast to its position on Venezuela when Peru’s Congress voted to publicly censure the government of President Nicolas Maduro. At no time did Broad Front leaders emphasize the importance of national sovereignty, which consistently played a key role in the Broad Front party’s refusals to condemn Venezuela.

Instead the party cited Rousseff’s popularity in Brazil, which at 15% is slightly lower than Maduro’s in Venezuela. The party also cites corruption investigations into Brazil’s legislators, which must have caught opponents off guard given it never pointed to corruption in Venezuela’s government, which Transparency International ranks 158th of 168 countries in its Corruption Perceptions Index.

“Under no circumstances will we sign a politically biased resolution,” Broad Front congressman Marco Arana told Peru 21 about the Venezuela censure. “Because if it disqualifies one of the parties, it isn’t an appropriate measure.”

Observers who took Arana at his word would have been taken by surprise by the 180-degree turn in calling on Peru not to recognize the government of the country with the world’s fifth-largest population of 200 million and ninth-largest economy with a GDP of $2.2 trillion.

Less than one week later, Broad Front leaders have come out against the Kuczynski government’s pending request for decree powers to reorganize state oil firm Petroperu in the light of five oil spills from the Northern Peruvian Pipeline in the Amazon jungle.

Broad Front congressman Manuel Dammert has led the charge in refusing to support a reorganization of the 47-year-old company which made $149 million in profit on $3.5 billion in sales in 2015. Broad Front’s new position comes less than a year after former presidential candidate Veronika Mendoza vowed to reorganize Petroperu in the wake of this year’s first oil spill in February.

“In a Broad Front government we will ensure this does not happen anymore,” Mendoza said after this year’s first oil spill in February, during the heat of her presidential campaign. “We will not allow this to continue to happen, not anymore. We cannot allow [Petroperu] to continue polluting and leaving people with these problems, without doing anything.”

Mendoza vowed throughout the campaign to “modernize Petroperu to become an efficient, transparent company and avoid these problems.”

But as the competitive landscape has evolved, so has the Broad Front’s political strategy. The party has dumped the old initiative of protecting the environment without breaking stride, proving it will not be boxed in by previous positions or statements, no matter how recent.

Dammert has displayed creativity and a sense of urgency in beating opponents to the punch in speculating the government wants to privatize the state oil firm several days before Cabinet chief Fernando Zavala presents the government’s Petroperu proposal to Congress.

Broad Front’s policy reversals on political intervention in the region and the environment at home illustrate how flexible both the team’s offense and defense are, as well as its commitment to win and not allow any easy victories to its opponents.

Coming off an embarrassing shutout to Bolivia in a World Cup qualifier and a consolation prize with a win over Ecuador, Peru’s national soccer team manager Ricardo Gareca is certainly watching the maneuvers by Veronika Mendoza and Marco Arana.

Meanwhile, as Lima looks to host the Pan Am Games in 2019, the Peruvian Olympic Committee is also watching the Broad Front party for inspiration in developing agility and the kind of nimble moves needed on the track and field.


Mendoza: Destitución de Dilma es un duro golpe a la democracia (El Comercio)

El Frente Amplio condena golpe en Brasil (Frente Amplio Facebook page)

Mendoza: un gobierno del Frente Amplio no permitirá derrames de petróleo (Andina)

Frente Amplio rechaza el pedido de facultades legislativas del Ejecutivo sobre Petroperú [VIDEO] (Manuel Dammert official website)